Patriots gridiron news: Malcolm Butler bows out gracefully

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 13: Derrick Henry
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 13: Derrick Henry /

A storybook beginning ended with question marks for former New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler.

Let the Bill Belichick and Malcolm Butler melodrama now end in peace.  After signing a five-year, $61 million contract with the Tennessee Titans, the former New England Patriots cornerback opened up about the Super Bowl LII benching that still has the NFL world scratching their head.

In fact, Butler is shaking his head as well.  Instead of bashing his former head coach, the man who will always be a hero in the hearts of Patriots fans give Belichick the benefit of the doubt.

"“I never got a reason,” Butler told the Boston Herald.  “I feel like this was the reason:  I got kind of sick.  I went to the hospital.  They probably thought I was kind of late on the game plan; I wasn’t as locked in as I should be and could have been a matchup deal.  It could have been anything.  But Bill Belichick has been doing this for a very long time.  He took a veteran out of Super Bowl XLIX (against the Seahawks) and put in a first-year rookie, and that turned out right, so you could never question his decision.  It didn’t work out right (against the Eagles).  It didn’t work out the best for me or him or the New England Patriots.  But I can say he won more than he lost, so it is what is.  I always have love for New England, Bill Belichick, Mr. Kraft, all those guys.  Life just goes on.”"

Butler’s answer or educated guess does back up both Belichick’s and former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia’s claim that it was strictly a football decision.  If it was not, something would’ve came out by now, especially from Butler, who no longer has a reason to keep his lips tight.

Still, people will wonder.

Related Story: Malcolm Butler will always be a Patriots legend

Still, Bill Belichick will be labeled as evil (in the words of ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith).

At the end of the day, Malcolm Butler is moving on and so are the New England Patriots.  While fans pout and stomp their feet over the lack of free agency moves, Butler is the very example of why in Belichick we have trusted all these years.

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An undrafted rookie free agent out of West Alabama saved the team in Super Bowl XLIX.  He rose to become one of the top cornerbacks in the league.  Now he is one of the highest paid.

Butler went on to show his appreciation of Patriots fans and the love he will always have for New England.  No matter how it ended, Belichick saw his value and gave him a chance he probably wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

Can’t we just appreciate that? 

Around the AFC East: Trent Murphy choses Buffalo

The New England Patriots apparently lost out on outside linebacker Trent Murphy.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the former Washington Redskins pass rusher signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Buffalo Bills.

The Patriots were rumored to be in the running for Murphy, but he decided to take his talent to another AFC East team.  The former Stanford product missed the entire 217 team because of a torn ACL.

Next: New England Patriots free agency: Well at least Rex Burkhead is back

He is the type of bargain the Patriots typically sign, but the money Buffalo was willing to play won him over.  The Bills may feel they stole one from the Patriots, but they may have done them a favor…as usual.